On July 6, U.S. Soccer opened up registration for local qualifying for the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Registration is open to all U.S. Soccer affiliated “Open Division” (i.e. not professional) teams that are have played this year or will play this year at least 10 regular season matches in at least a 4 team league. Registration closes on July 31, 2023. All information can be found at this link.
The schedule for this fall’s qualifying has been condensed to be completed prior to Thanksgiving. The schedule is as follows:
- First Qualifying Round: September 9-10
- Second Qualifying Round: September 30 – October 1
- Third Qualifying Round: October 21-22
- Fourth Qualifying Round: November 18-19
Local Qualifying eligibility excludes National Track teams
All teams that meet this are eligible to enter except for the National Leagues that have designated that they would like to enter via the “National League Track” instead. The two leagues that have made this designation for this year are the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) and USL League Two. Those leagues will receive allocated spots in the First Round of next year’s tournament in proportion to the total number of teams in those leagues. Each league will pay a $200 entry fee for every eligible team in their league that plays 10 regular season games or more this year. NPSL has 92 eligible teams for this year and USL League Two has 120 eligible teams, meaning NPSL will pay $18,400 in entry fees while USL League Two will pay $24,000 in entry fees.
UPSL’s new berth in the first round
The other league that could have made this designation, but chose not to, is the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) which has over 200+ teams in its Premier Division. Since they chose not to, the league will not need to pay $200 for every team in their league, but instead will leave it up to each individual team to decide if they would like to enter local qualifying this fall by the July 31 deadline and pay all applicable costs.
However, UPSL did get one new perk for the 2024 edition of this tournament. Brand new this year is that the 2023 Spring season national champion will get an automatic spot in First Round of the 2024 US Open Cup. This is analogous to the spot the USASA Amateur Cup champion receives each year in the First Round. Those two spots will be “removed” from the pool of spots that go to the rest of the entered teams (National League track and Local Qualifying track) for the mathematical calculation of spots each track gets.
New cup tied rule
An update to the cup-tied rule has been made effective immediately. A player that plays in the local qualifying tournament this fall, then signs to a PROFESSIONAL team would NOT be cup tied to the amateur team the player played for in the fall, and would be eligible for the pro team in the tournament proper. This is the only way a player could play for two different teams in a single U.S. Open Cup tournament. A player can still only play for one pro team in any given tournament year, and can still only play for one Open Division team in a given tournament year as well.
A team that plays in qualifying will pay the following 3 separate costs.
- $200 entry fee. All Open Division teams are assessed this, while professional teams pay a higher entry fee based on their division level. The two leagues in the National League track will pay this for ALL ELIGIBLE TEAMS in the league, whether they intend to play in the 2024 US Open Cup or not.
- $300 referee fee. A recent change to the US Open Cup is the home team will no longer handle all referee costs. Instead, US Soccer will handle all referee costs for the tournament directly with the officials. To cover this cost for the qualifying, all teams participating this fall will be assessed this fee, but will no longer have to pay those costs to host a match.
- $1500 refundable performance bond. All teams, amateur and professional, are assessed this bond. As long as a team plays in all of its scheduled matches, meets all other obligations to the tournament, and isn’t assessed any fines, they will be refunded this bond within 60 days after their elimination from the tournament.